Thursday, January 31, 2008

Domhnach na Fola ( Bloody Sunday )

January 30th 1972, also commonly known as Bloody Sunday.

On this day 36 years ago, thousands of people, organized by the NICRA ( Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association ) marched through the streets of Derry in an attempt to end Internment, Gerrymandering, and for a One man, One Vote platform. It was a peaceful protest of the government's ( Stormont) total disregard for the civil rights of 1/3 of Northern Ireland's populace. During this peaceful march 14 innocent people were murdered by the British security forces, who went on a rampage, firing indiscriminately into the crowd.

What amazes me about this event, is the lack of knowledge people here in America have about it. Not one person with whom I've spoken in the past month even knew where Derry is, let alone that a very active and strong Civil Rights movement took place in the late 60's-early 70's in Northern Ireland. When I asked them what they thought about the U2 song " Sunday, Bloody Sunday." they all said they liked it, but to be sure they didn't know what it was about. So, I thought I would put some of the information out there for people to see and perhaps take an interest in the Nation that so many claim as their homeland.

At around 3:00 pm that Sunday the march began in a light hearted mood. The march's planned route had taken it to the Guildhall, but because of army barricades it was redirected to Free Derry Corner. A small group of teenagers broke off from the main march and persisted in pushing the barricade and marching on the Guildhall. They attacked the British Army Barricade with stones and shouted insults at the troops. At this point, a water cannon, tear gas and rubber bullets were used to disperse the rioters. Such confrontations between soldiers and youths were common, though observers reported that the rioting was not intense. Two people were shot and wounded by soldiers on William Street.

At a certain point, reports of an IRA sniper operating in the area were allegedly given to the Army command centre. The order to fire live rounds was given, and one young man was shot and killed when he ran down Chamberlain Street away from the advancing troops. This first fatality, Jackie Duddy, was among a crowd who were running away. He was running alongside a priest, Father Edward Daly, when he was shot in the back. Continuing violence by and against British troops escalated, and eventually the order was given to mobilise the troops in an arrest operation, chasing the tail of the main group of marchers to the edge of the field by Free Derry Corner.
Despite a cease-fire order from the army HQ, over a hundred rounds were fired directly into the fleeing crowds by troops under the command of Major Ted Loden. Twelve more were killed , many of them as they attempted to aid the fallen. Fourteen others were wounded, twelve by shots from the soldiers and two knocked down by armoured personnel carriers ( Saracens).

The list of the victims is as follows:

John (Jackie) Duddy (17). Shot in the chest in the car park of Rossville flats. Four witnesses stated Duddy was unarmed and running away from the paratroopers when he was killed. Three of them saw a soldier take deliberate aim at the youth as he ran. Uncle of Irish boxer John Duddy

Patrick Joseph Doherty (31). Shot from behind while attempting to crawl to safety in the forecourt of Rossville flats. Doherty was the subject of a series of photographs, taken before and after he died by French journalist Gilles Peress. Despite testimony from "Soldier F" that he had fired at a man holding and firing a pistol, Widgery acknowledged that the photographs showed Doherty was unarmed, and that forensic tests on his hands for gunshot residue proved negative.

Bernard McGuigan (41). Shot in the back of the head when he went to help Patrick Doherty. He had been waving a white handkerchief at the soldiers to indicate his peaceful intentions.

Hugh Pious Gilmour (17). Shot in the chest as he ran from the paratroopers on Rossville Street. Widgery acknowledged that a photograph taken seconds after Gilmour was hit corroborated witness reports that he was unarmed, and that tests for gunshot residue were negative.

Kevin McElhinney (17). Shot from behind while attempting to crawl to safety at the front entrance of the Rossville Flats. Two witnesses stated McElhinney was unarmed.

Michael G. Kelly (17). Shot in the stomach while standing near the rubble barricade in front of Rossville Flats. Widgery accepted that Kelly was unarmed.

John Pius Young (17). Shot in the head while standing at the rubble barricade. Two witnesses stated Young was unarmed.

William Noel Nash (19). Shot in the chest near the barricade. Witnesses stated Nash was unarmed and going to the aid of another when killed.

Michael M. McDaid (20). Shot in the face at the barricade as he was walking away from the paratroopers. The trajectory of the bullet indicated he could have been killed by soldiers positioned on the Derry Walls.

James Joseph Wray (22). Wounded then shot again at close range while lying on the ground. Witnesses who were not called to the Widgery Tribunal stated that Wray was calling out to say that he could not move his legs before he was shot the second time.

Gerald Donaghy (17). Shot in the stomach while attempting to run to safety between Glenfada Park and Abbey Park. Donaghy was brought to a nearby house by bystanders where he was examined by a doctor. His pockets were turned out in an effort to identify him. A later police photograph of Donaghy's corpse showed nail bombs in his pockets. Neither those who searched his pockets in the house nor the British army medical officer (Soldier 138) who pronounced his death shortly afterwards say they saw any bombs. Donaghy had been a member of Fianna Éireann, an IRA-linked Republican youth movement. Paddy Ward, who gave evidence at the Saville Inquiry, claimed that he had given two nail bombs to Donaghy several hours before he was shot dead.

Gerald (James) McKinney (34). Shot just after Gerald Donaghy. Witnesses stated that McKinney had been running behind Donaghy, and he stopped and held up his arms, shouting "Don't shoot! Don't shoot!", when he saw Donaghy fall. He was then shot in the chest.

William A. McKinney (27). Shot from behind as he attempted to aid Gerald McKinney (no relation). He had left cover to try to help the older man.

John Johnson (59). Shot on William Street 15 minutes before the rest of the shooting started. Johnson died of his wounds 4½ months later, the only one not to die immediately or soon after being shot.

Unlike the countless acts of repression, that had taken place in NI the years previous, this attack was Photographed and filmed. It made the news worldwide and it brought the British Government into the light of world opinion. The Government understood fully that they could in no way avoid an inquiry, and to avoid world opinion to bear on them they formed the Widgery Tribunal, to explain the shootings.

Widgery Tribunal, The report that was hurriedly produced exonerated the soldiers of any misconduct or wrong doing. In it's opinion The Widgery Tribunal felt that the soldier's behavior " Bordered on recklessness" and nothing more. It also went so far as to perpetuate the myth of an IRA sniper in the area, though no evidence of any kind was, or ever has, been produced to support such allegations. This report had serious ramifications as to the situation in Northern Ireland for years to come. Seen for what it truly is, a whitewash, the Nationalist community was angered and incensed. However, I believe Widgery served it's purpose in that it put the nature of the protesters in Doubt in world opinion. By implying that the IRA were at the march and shooting at the troops, the British Government could then say they were justified in their actions. The hogwash worked, and even today people believe that somehow the troops were under attack by Republican forces. This deception helped stem the tide of international pressure. Widgery also hurt the Government. As many citizens of Northern Ireland saw that they really had no representation in their government at all. Not only were the nationalists being Imprisoned ( Internment ), their right to vote being denied, and their fellows being shot down in the street by the same government who was supposed to protect them, but they were also told, By Widgery's blatant cover up, that the government wasn't even going to admit wrongdoing when it came to murder.

This fact, led to one of the largest recruitment surges into the PIRA that the organization had ever seen.

Currently the Saville Inquiry, is investigating the events of Domhnach na Fola, after 8 years of testimony and searching this group has yet to report it's findings, though it is expected to do some some time this year 2008.

Those are but some of the facts surrounding this most terrible tragedy. There are many great books on the subject as well as a film aptly named " Bloody Sunday" which is worth a watch.

So the next time you are humming along to Bono's heart racing beat, try to remember how heart wrenching the day was that produced the lyrics of that song.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Agenda for the 2008 Democratic National Convention

Agenda for the 2008 Democratic National Convention (Just Released)
7:00 pm Opening flag burning

7:15 pm Pledge of Allegiance to the U.N. in Spanish

7:20 pm Ted Kennedy proposes a toast

7:25 pm Nonreligious prayer and worship with Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton

7:45 pm Ceremonial tree hugging

7:55 pm Ted Kennedy proposes a toast

8:00 pm How I Invented the Internet - Al Gore

8:15 pm Gay Wedding - Barney Frank presiding

8:35 pm Ted Kennedy proposes a toast

8:40 pm Our Troops are War Criminals - John Kerry

9.00 pm Saddam Memorial Rally - Cindy Sheehan and Susan Sarandon

11.00 pm Ted Kennedy proposes a toast

11:05 pm Collection for the Osama Bin Laden kidney transplant fund - Barbara Streisand

11:15 pm Free the Freedom Fighters from Guantanamo Bay - Sean Penn

11:30 pm Oval Office Affairs - William Jefferson Clinton

11:45 pm Ted Kennedy proposes a toast

11:50 pm How George Bush Brought Down the World Trade Towers - Howard Dean & Rosie O'Donnell
12:15 am "Truth in Broadcasting Award" - Presented to Dan Rather by Michael Moore

12:25 am Ted Kennedy proposes a toast

12:30 am Satellite address by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

12:45 am Nomination of Hillary Rodham Clinton by Nancy Pelosi

12:50 am Speech and toast by Hugo Chavez to the departure of "the great satan", 'W' Bush

12:55 am Hillary proposes a toast to our 89 million new Democratic Mexican voters

1:00 am Ted Kennedy proposes a toast to the extinction of the Republican party.

1:05 am Coronation of Hillary Rodham Clinton

1:30 am Ted Kennedy proposes a toast

1:35 am Bill Clinton asks Ted Kennedy to drive Hillary home


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Irish for McCain

Donegal newspaper endorses McCain
By RTÉ.ie journalist Blathnaid Healy

Barack Obama may have the support of Moneygall, Co Offaly, but it emerged that Republican party presidential hopeful John McCain has Ballybofey on his side.
The Vietnam War Veteran has been endorsed by The Finn Valley Voice in a front-page article headlined 'Vote for Cousin John McCain'.
The article reveals the US Senator's links to Co Donegal by way of his distant cousin Ivan Knox, a well-known Ballybofey businessman.
The discovery was made by a US geneticist Barra McCain, Mr McCain's eighth cousin, who carried out Y-Chromosome research.
He found some 400 people in the Finn Valley who could be related to the presidential candidate.
Mr McCain's relatives in Co Donegal are the equivalent of ninth cousins and spell their surname slightly differently.
The McKanes or McKeans were cousins of the senator's ancestor Alexander McCain who emigrated to the US from Co Antrim in the eighteenth century. However Alexander's uncle stayed in Ireland and eventually his children moved to the Finn Valley.
Finn Valley Voice Journalist Pat Holland says Mr McCain is as important to Ireland as John F Kennedy, but in a completely different way.
The Finn Valley area of Co Donegal, according to Mr Holland, is one of the only parts of the Republic that has a similar demographic to that of Northern Ireland.
Mr Holland said that the senator is very important because he is a symbol of the Finn Valley community and pluralist Ireland.
Mr Holland says he likes the Arizona politician. 'I don't see anything in his policies to scare me,' Mr Holland said adding that he probably had the right approach on the Iraq War.
Mr McCain voted in favour of the Iraq, but he wanted the US to invade with more troops. He also supported the recent troop surge.
Mr Holland thinks his newspapers endorsement will help 'a little', but does not think the Irish-American community in the US will swing in behind him in the same way they would for a candidate with an obvious Irish surname.
He is hopeful that Mr McCain will win the Republican nomination from other candidates Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and Rudy Giuliani. He said if the senator became the next president of the US it would be great for Ireland.
'It would be a good for the Finn Valley,' Mr Holland said. 'It would put us on the tourist map.'

Provos shouldn't exist anymore - Derry dissident

The Derry Journal printed this article today. I find the timing of this statement by the RIRA ( Real Irish Republican Army) to be a bit contrived. On the eve, of the 36 year anniversary of the Bloody Sunday Massacre in Derry, that did so much to bolster support for the Provo's, Gary Donnelly comes out and says the organization not only has become defunct, but shouldn't even exist. I'll write more on the Massacre later, for the moment I'd like to address Mr. Donnelly's comments.

I believe the people of Northern Ireland have spoken, in full, in support of a political solution to the issues at hand. By voting for Stormont, they said they are wearied of war, of the bigotry and hate that was so evident on that terrible Sunday in 1972. Mr. Donnelly wishes to continue the violent struggle, he has even gone so far as to reach out to the CIRA ( Continuity Irish Republican Army) in the hopes of an alliance to wreak more havoc on a populace that wants nothing more than peace and prosperity. I find this sad and disturbing to say the least.

I, obviously, disagree with Mr. Donnelly. His contention that the Provo's are dead is false in so many ways. I am not supporter of any of the organizations that promote violence, but I do understand that at one time they were needed. Does he think that this organization after 30 years of fighting is not ready to take up the mantle again if the new Government fails to represent the people? Does he not know that the Provo's are but waiting in the wings, quietly watching events? So what, Mr. Donnelly, that they are not setting bombs and killing policemen, perhaps the Provo's have listened to the people's wants. Read a bit of history and you will find that the underground societies that are the backdrop of Irish landscape, have been around for 800 years. They have remarkable resilience and patience Mr. Donnelly, patience which you are lacking. The 14 who died on Bloody Sunday, who were seeking an end to Internment, were trying to achieve a goal peacefully. You disgrace their memory by screaming for blood on that anniversary.


A leading Derry dissident republican has called on the Provisional IRA to disband.

Gary Donnelly, a key figure in the 32 County Sovereignty Committee - the political wing of the Real IRA - said he supported "armed opposition" to British rule in Ireland. "It's legitimate," he said.In an interview with a national Sunday newspaper, the Creggan native, who was an unsuccessful independent candidate in the Derry City Council elections in 2005, added: "There shouldn't be a Provisional IRA anymore. What is its function. It was set up to fight the British in Ireland. It shouldn't exist if it's not upholding the IRA's constitution."
He said that the organisation had been "knocked for six" by the Sinn Fein leadership. "Remember what they said 'not a bullet, not an ounce'. Many republicans now realise they were conned."And Mr. Donnelly said he believes that the Real IRA and Continuity IRA "should unite" in armed struggle. "It is the obvious thing for them to do. There is strength in unity."I would love to see republicanism united. It would be more logical to have one group which would be more effective than two."Mr. Donnelly was among those arrested and quizzed following the shooting of Derry police man Jim Doherty at Bishop Street in November. He also accused police in Derry of breaking his arm during an "vicious and unprovoked assault" more than week afterwards.
The full article contains 237 words and appears in n/a newspaper.
Last Updated: 29 January 2008 11:01 AM

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Stimulus unfair.

We have all been worried about the current threat of recession here in the United States. The falling markets, worldwide as well as on wall street, along with the Ogre in the corner ( subprime mortgages) has the nation in a panic. This has prompted our government to put forth what they are calling a "Stimulus Package". The concept is to infuse money directly into the economy by giving tax rebates to the American people. The belief is that those recipients of the rebate would then spend the money on material goods and possessions thus, boosting the economy, if only short term.

Not a perfect idea, as it only addresses the immediate threat and does not look at the long term at all, but hey, it is a start. The amazing thing is that we are seeing bi-partisan activity on the proposed measure. Considering how the campaigns have been going as of late, this fact took me totally by surprise. However, after the initial flurry of activity on both sides of the aisle, the Dems in perfect form, have begun to push for amendments to the package. They are asking that the Government give rebates to non-taxpaying members of society. That's right, we are talking about the " Poor " again. The reasoning goes that the indigent populace will be most likely to immediately spend whatever money comes their way, whereas the Middle Class citizens may try to save it or put the rebate towards existing personal debt. Oooh, those evil, responsible taxpayers of the middle class really don't understand economics at all. Or do they? Ken Altschuler of WGAN Radio even went so far as to use an emotional scenario/analogy to express his support of the provision. Using an Unwed mother who can finally buy that winter coat for her child. How Touching Ken, I am totally swayed now. Maybe, if I had more sympathy, perhaps I might come to the same conclusion as you and the Liberals pushing this. I don't however, so I am stuck here forced to use logic and reason, rather than raw emotion.

First, allow me to apply logic to the idea that the Middle class recipients will save the rebate and not spend it. Yes many will put it towards existing debt, this too boosts the economy. What would the economists prefer to see? Less overall personal debt nationally or an increase in Budweiser and Ho Ho snack cake sales? Hmmmmm I don't know that's a toss up for me too. Right, let's ask ourselves this question: What economic bracket were the majority of people who foolishly took the variable rate mortgages that has so affected our economy? Were they the extremely wealthy, the 2%? No? Was it the people who were on state and federal housing assistance i.e. Section 8? No again huh. That leaves the Middle class doesn't it. So this group of people who spent so furiously on homes they could not afford, who used their homes as ATM machines to take trips and buy cars, cannot be trusted to spend a $1,200 rebate frivolously? I guess that makes too much sense for the Libs. Aren't the Democrats constantly saying how unfortunate these "Victims" of subprime mortgages are?.

Being in the middle class myself, after WORKING VERY HARD to advance myself from poverty, I have an idea as to what most people in the middle bracket will do with any extra cash.

1. They will put a portion of it to their existing Debt, not all, and maybe not a lot of it either.

2. they will TREAT themselves to a purchase of some kind. More than likely a Hard goods item such as a DVD player or maybe a power tool.

As to saving the money? Too few Americans, at least here in the north east are in a position to do that. With the ever increasing rise of heating and automobile fuel, your average taxpayer is barley keeping their head above water, especially in Maine. Which leads me to my second point.

The average TAXPAYER cannot get heating assistance to heat their homes, they do not get food stamps to feed their families. They do not get subsidized housing, free health care, or Christmas baskets. No one is sending them clothing and toys for their children. ( By the way Mr. Altschuler, there is a little program here in Maine called " Coats for Kids" you and your unwed mom should check it out sometime.) No, the average taxpayer is on his/her own. They pay to the Federal Government each week a portion of their income to help fund the very programs they are not eligible for. Let me hear you say Unfair again Ken. Unfair to whom? So if the provision goes through the portion of the populace, that receives the most support from the State and Federal governments will get even more. Undeservedly, I say. For, they have not contributed a dime, they are already receiving a tax break as they don't have to pay tax in the first place. Meanwhile, the very people who support and Fuel the economy, day in and day out, are supposed to turn a blind eye and say, " It's OK, take more of my hard earned money and spend it. I'm sure you will spend it more wisely than I."

I say, if we need to boost the economy in this way short term fine. Give me my money back and I'll do my part. But don't give it to some lazy, besotted, ejit who I already over support by way of my tax.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Norman Schwarzkopf Endorses McCain

Now, this for me is of significance. Another man who is dedicated to the security and sanctity of this Nation, coming out in support of John McCain. Rising above the tide of rhetoric and labels, General Schwartzkopf has made a statement by this action. An Important one for which I am grateful. As I peruse the daily news agencies, I become more and more annoyed with the "Conservative" part of the Republican Party. I too consider myself Conservative but recently, it seems, I have been disqualified. The pundits and reporters want me to believe that I am not a Conservative but a Liberal because of my support for Senator McCain. Regardless of my years of dedication to the Conservative ethos, now I am not a member of that group, so sayeth Sean Hannity and Chuck Norris.

So I say to you all, who are degrading and minimizing my beliefs and convictions with your quips and wit... Piss Off.

I suppose now it will be open season on General Scwartzkopf as well? I guess his record of service and dedication to this Nation will be brought to the fore and picked apart. His support of the Republican party will be negated and he will no longer be a Conservative any longer as well. He will be labelled a " Lib" and his love of country diminished. This is what I am seeing each and every day, and I believe it is beneath the Republican party to behave this way.

Hillary and Barack had it out on National TV the other night, to the joy of millions of Republicans. Their mudslinging and black attacks showed the world who and what they really are finally. This behavior is part and parcel for the Democrats. In fighting and back biting, has become so common place within their party no one seems to notice it any longer. They too have extremes within their organization, " The far Left", who are controlling their party at the moment. One of their favorite things to say is " If you support the war, you are a fascist."

Am I the only one who sees the similarities here? Countless times these past 8 years, Republicans have taken the High road when faced with negative attacks and behavior. They have said it was beneath them to even address some of the nonsensical, emotional arguments, thrown about by such outstanding people like Nancy Pelosi. Yet within our own ranks, and for the world to see, I guess it is a different set of rules. Just like the Dems, we have begun to attack our core and rely upon extremes. We have begun labelling each other and to my chagrin disqualifying long standing members of our party. I am sure if there was a way for the Hard liners to throw me out they would. I guess at least I wouldn't be alone as General Swartzkopf would be good company to keep. Lets get back to the High road, lets stop fooling around with labels and dividing our house. Ultimately we all have the same core beliefs, and we all vote accordingly. Let's stop acting like the Dems, and get back to the issues at hand. Piss off Walker Texas Ranger, McCain and Swartzkopf have done more for our nation than you and yours will ever do and then some.


Norman Schwarzkopf Endorses McCain
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
John McCain earned the endorsement of Gulf War commander Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf Wednesday.
Schwarzkopf, who with McCain in 2004 was openly critical of then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld over his handling of the Iraq war, said in a statement the Arizona senator “has served our country with honor in war and in peace.”
“He has demonstrated the type of courageous leadership our country sorely needs at this time. For that reason, he has my complete support,” he said.
McCain is in a tight race for the Republican presidential nomination, but most polls show him leading the pack following his wins in New Hampshire and South Carolina. He and his rivals are in Florida Wednesday ahead of the state’s primary on Tuesday.
It is not clear whether Schwarzkopf will campaign with McCain, as former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has done.
McCain thanked Schwarzkopf in a statement, saying, “General Norman Schwarzkopf’s distinguished lifetime of service and uncommon devotion to our nation has earned him the respect and admiration of the American people. I am honored by his support.”

Friday, January 18, 2008

Some levity

On a lighter note, I decided to post this joke today. I have been told that my musings are much too serious and that a wee bit of the Craic would make this blog a little more enjoyable.

A mate of mine forwarded this to me yesterday. Enjoy.


The Pope took a couple of days off to visit the mountains of Alaska for some sight-seeing. He was cruising along the campground in the Pope-mobile when there was a frantic commotion just at the edge of the woods.
A helpless Democrat, wearing sandals, shorts, a "Save the Whales" hat, and a "To Hell with Bush" T-shirt, was screaming while struggling frantically, thrashing around trying to free himself from the grasp of a 10 foot grizzly bear.
As the Pope watched horrified, a group of Republican loggers came racing up. One quickly fired a .44 magnum into the bear's chest. The other two reached up and pulled the bleeding, semiconscious Democrat from the bear's grasp. Then using long clubs, the three loggers finished off the bear and two of them threw it onto the bed of their truck while the third tenderly placed the injured Democrat in the back seat.
As they prepared to leave, the Pope summoned them to come over. "I give you my blessing for your brave actions!" he told them. "I heard there was a bitter hatred between Republican loggers and Democratic Environmental Activists but now I've seen with my own eyes that this is not true."
As the Pope drove off, one of the loggers asked his buddies "Who was that guy?"
”It was the Pope," another replied. "He's in direct contact with heaven and has access to all wisdom."
"Well," the logger said, "he may have access to all wisdom but he sure don't know anything about bear hunting! Is the bait holding up, or do we need to go back to Massachusetts ?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Can we try to be Honest?

I listen to talk Radio every Morning and evening to and from my workplace. I switch between WLOB with Ray and Ted, to WGAN with Ken and Mike in the am. Evenings I get to hear Howie Carr, Sean Hannity, and occaisionally Bill O'Reilly if I happen to be stuck in traffic or am working late. These hosts keep me entertained and thinking about various topics of interest. Mostly though, I turn to these pundits for their particular views as concerns political issues. What I like about these shows is that they ask some pretty hard questions about some serious subjects.

For Example, Sean Hannity has been asking Supporters of Hillary Clinton this simple question:

" Name one thing Hillary has done or accomplished in her 8 years as a New York Senator?"

The answer is of course nothing, but the supporters continually reply with platitudes and rhetoric, never actually attempting to answer. I find it amusing and informative in the fact that so many people choose to support a Candidate without actually looking at what that candidate has done.

That being said, I must also state that I do not wholly agree with everything these shows promote or say. If I did I would simply be another Kool Aid drinker, as Mr. Hannity so dubs the fools who call his show without any facts or figures to back up their arguments. Which brings me to my topic.

Recently, many of the Hosts have been touting Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson as their candidates of choice. This in itself is not anything to be bothered by, but I found that one of their arguments faulty. It is one of the arguments used most frequently to discourage voters from casting their lot with John McCain. Yes you guessed it, I'm talking about McCain Feingold, or officially known as The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002. This act is used like a dagger whenever one hears about John McCain and is used as a finish move of sorts in arguments. " What about McCain Feingold? " is bandied about so often I decided to look it up for myself to see why this law is so anathema to my Republican brothers. What I found surprised me a little.

As noted in McConnell v. FEC, a United States Supreme Court ruling on the BCRA, the Act was designed to address two issues:

The increased role of soft money in campaign financing, by prohibiting national political party committees from raising or spending any funds not subject to federal limits, even for state and local races or issue discussion;

The proliferation of issue ads, by defining as "electioneering communications" broadcast ads that name a federal candidate within 30 days of a primary or caucus or 60 days of a general election, and prohibiting any such ad paid for by a corporation (including non-profit issue organizations such as Right to Life or the Environmental Defense Fund) or paid for by an unincorporated entity using any corporate or union funds.

This act given the name McCain Feingold for it's two main sponsors, is something that is subject to great debate all over the country even now, 5 years after it was passed into law by President Bush. Some say it is Unconstitutional, others say it's faulty, and still others feel it too liberal. There are good points on both sides and I feel personally that the law is faulty, but what I found is that Senator John McCain was not alone in his support of the Bill. Many other Republicans also gave their blessing to the BCRA.

Senator Fred Thompson

Voted YES on banning "soft money" contributions and restricting issue ads.
Vote on passage of H.R. 2356; Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (Shays-Meehan bill, House equivalent of McCain-Feingoldf bill). Vote to ban “soft money” contributions to national political parties but permit up to $10,000 in soft money contributions to state and local parties to help with voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives. The bill would stop issue ads from targeting specific candidates within 30 days of the primary or 60 days of the general election. Additionally, the bill would raise the individual contribution limit from $1,000 to $2,000 per election for House and Senate candidates, both of which would be indexed for inflation.
Reference: Bill
HR.2356 ; vote number 2002-54 on Mar 20, 2002

Voted YES on banning campaign donations from unions & corporations.
Vote to ban soft money donations to political parties and forbid corporate general funds and union general funds from being spent on issue ads. The bill would increase the individual contribution limit to candidates from $1,000 to $2,000.
Reference: Bill
S.27 ; vote number 2001-64 on Apr 2, 2001

Voted YES on favoring 1997 McCain-Feingold overhaul of campaign finance.
Support of the campaign finance bill proposed by Senators McCain (R-AZ) and Feingold (D-WI). Status: Cloture Motion Rejected Y)53; N)47
Reference: Campaign Finance Reform Bill; Bill
S. 25 ; vote number 1997-267 on Oct 7, 1997

Mayor Rudolph Giuliani

Giuliani is an ardent supporter of campaign finance reform as well. As he was contemplating a run for the Senate in 2000, Giuliani told Wolf Blitzer that he was a "very, very strong supporter of Campaign Finance Reform," adding that he'd been "a very strong supporter of McCain-Feingold for a long, long time now."
Source: Tom Bevan, "Deconstructing Giuliani", Aug 10, 2006

Debates on campaign finance reform miss the point on honesty
Debates on campaign finance reform miss the point. I favor it, but in the final analysis money will not make an honest man dishonest or a dishonest man honest.
In politics, there is an outcry whenever an officeholder who has received campaign contributions from a particular industry supports a position perceived as favorable to that industry. The implication is that, say, the tobacco industry's contribution "bought" the official's support or at least bought access. I would be the last to say it never happens, but much more common is a company choosing to support those it views as sympathetic to its interests. At any given moment in my administration, someone who supported me was angry because I didn't do what they hoped I would do. If they withdraw their support, you don't want them around anyway. There's no one thing you can do to establish the principle. All you can do is keep making decisions based on what you believe, and by your example, you will demonstrate your independence.

Govenor Mitt Romney

Boston Globe article from July 1994 reported that Romney publicly advocated placing spending limits on congressional campaigns and abolishing political action committees (PACs).

During remarks before the Burlington (Mass.) Business Roundtable in 1994, Romney spoke like the committed reformers who later enacted sweeping national reforms in Congress.

“I understand Ted Kennedy will spend about $10 million to be reelected — he’s been in 32 years, $10 million. I think that’s wrong because — and that’s not his own money, that’s all from other people,” Romney said during the 1994 presentation, which was aired by C-SPAN. “And to get that kind of money you’ve got to cozy up as an incumbent to all the special-interest groups who can go out and raise money for you from their members. And that kind of relationship has an influence on the way you’re gonna vote.”Romney lost his race against Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.). When he ran for governor eight years later, Romney again proposed dramatic changes to campaign-finance rules.

“Mr. Romney campaigned in favor of clean elections, which provides public money to candidates for state office who meet strict fundraising requirements,” the Telegram & Gazette reported. “But he suggested an alternative funding method. Instead of providing campaign funds from state coffers, his plan would tap 10 percent of the fundraising of candidates who choose to raise money privately.”

Kevin Madden, Romney’s campaign spokesman, declined to comment about campaign finance proposals his boss made in 1994 and 2002.

All of the Republican Primary candidates supported this bill Publicly at some point in their political careers. ( I could not find anything on Mike Huckabee's position on this subject). All of them stand by that support today except Mitt Romney, who like Hillary, takes a cameleon like approach to the issues, changing stances as the audience dictates.

Recently Gonenor Romney had this to say about Campaign Finance reform:

Referring to the bill, [Romney] called it ‘one of the worst things in my lifetime,’”

A South Carolina-based publication, The State, recently reported that Romney highlighted McCain’s support of campaign regulations in order to draw a contrast with his rival.
“That’s a terrible piece of legislation,” Romney said, according to the report. “It hasn’t taken the money out of politics … [But] it has hurt my party.”

My point is that if you are going to Villify one for support of a piece of legislation then you need to hold all the rest to the same standard. If the pundits, bloggers, and talk show hosts use the BCRA as a sticking point for Republican party voters when speaking of McCain, I daresay they need to look a little closer to those they support. If Senator McCain is not a conservative because he worked on BCRA then I contend that Romney, Thompson, and Giuliani are no longer entitled to be call such either. Let's try to be honest ok? It is embarrassing to be subjected to such blatant bias from ones own team.



Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Media Bias Strikes again

Yesterday 1/8/2008 I spent a better part of my day, looking forward to the evening news. I couldn't wait to see the New Hampshire Primary coverage and how things were panning out for my chosen candidate John McCain. I have been pulling for the Senator from Arizona for 8 months now and yesterdays Primary was important to his campaign. So to the tele I turned for the 6 o'clock news and boy didn't the news agencies give me a dose of reality.

WCSH channel 6 covered 15 minutes of primary news and results, the problem is with how they covered it. By the time I walked away I was sickened to death, and thinking about Joseph Geobbles. Of that 15 mins, WCSH only mentioned the Republican forerunner twice in two separate clips. In one they showed Senator McCain looking harried in a crowd of people, with the reporters comment " McCain is currently in the lead for the Republicans." In another, they inverviewed two pundits from MSNBC who, after explaining how exciting it was to be seeing such great Democratic candidates for 3 mins, stated " McCain has to win here in New Hampshire or he's finished." The only other Republican clip available for our hungry eyes to consume was of Govenor Romney reaching out to shake the hand of a woman voter, who was obviously startled quite a bit as the Govenor Lunged forward to take her hand. She actually jumped back.

Obviously, WCSH News Editing staff has a particular agenda to put forward. For I am sure that there were other clips taken that day that showed Sen. McCain in a much better light, yet they chose not to air those. I am quite certain Govenor Romney shook thousands of hands without frightening a soul, yet again WCSH decided on a negative clip instead. Am I the only one who finds this disturbing?

Recently some studies were done that came to the conclusion that 78% of voters do not research the candidates and that they get most of their information from the news. If that news, is biased in favor of one party and puts forth its stories like I saw the other night, then that 78% is getting short changed. For they are not getting the whole truth or the facts. Their descisions then will be based upon mis information. This bias, is not only going to be a huge factor in the upcoming elections, but it is also going to hurt us all negatively by spinning out Media's " VERSION" of events and not the actual events as they occur. It smacks of Propaganda in it's worst forms.

If I was of that 78% I would have thought that, " It looks like Hillary is running against Barack for president." After hearing about the wonderful coffee Hillary gave to supporters at the polls and then watching Mitt Lunge at voters I think I could easily be swayed into leaning to the Dems for leadership. That is if I didn't take the time to look elsewhere for information. Which three quarters of our populace seems to find difficult.


Thursday, January 3, 2008


New Years,

A day of new beginnings and hope. The day upon which many feel they can start anew and state their intentions by declaring them for all to hear. Yes, I'm talking about the ever pervasive " New year's Resolutions". It seems so many feel the need to embark upon some personal goal either for self betterment , or the benefit of mankind as a whole, and that this day is the day upon which to start. We have heard them all a thousand times over, " I'm going to lose weight", " Quit Smoking", "Invent the Internet", ( thanks Al Gore ), and my personal favorite, " to be a better person". I was asked what my resolution was and it occurred to me that I had not made one in ages. So to make up for time I thought I'd list mine here for all of you who I have aggravated with my bitter dark musings.

  1. To be nicer to those with whom I don't agree.

  2. To care for my fellow man through compassion and understanding.

  3. I will stop hating Hippies in all their various forms and guises

  4. I will come to understand that Midgets are Human beings

These four things would be extremely difficult for me to accomplish in but one years time, but it's going to be alright. You see, I have yet to meet a single individual who has actually stuck to their resolutions past January 30th. No one really takes them seriously. We make these foolish promises to ourselves and to others so we can feel good that we are at least, thinking about being better human beings. Oh some may join a gym, or go to a Quit smoking seminar, they may even better all mankind by explaining Global warming to us plebeians. For the most part though, come February, all the minor efforts become a pain in the backside and we all slip back into our old selves once again. I cannot possibly stop hating Hippies, any more than a 300 lb welfare case can slow their "Ho Ho" snack cake intake. ( I do believe I have broken each of my resolutions at least once today ) As resolutions are promises, I guess I'm not much of a trustworthy sort now am I?

Perhaps, the lofty goals we set for ourselves should be toned down a wee bit? Maybe the 300 lb Michelin man look alike could change his goal to something like; " I will learn what soap is and how to wash between the rolls". This isn't too difficult to manage, though any trip through a local Wal-Mart proves otherwise. By toning things down a bit they can not only accomplish the resolution but also may be inspired to go further on to the road of Self Betterment. This way our subject could then continue on his/her merry way of Food Stamp Gluttony but, benefit us all by washing off some of the layers. There by benefiting society as a whole.

So, I should change my resolutions then too eh? that way I can do my part in making the world a better place. As There is no way that I can be "Nicer" to those whom I disagree I'll toss that off the list as it is a bit misleading. I am way to nice during a disagreement and no further courtesy is needed on my part. Which leads us to # 2. I already care deeply for my fellow man, perhaps that is why I tend to get a little annoyed when I interact with with other members of the human species. I believe they could be so much more, yet time and time again reason fails them and I must resort to being tough to make them come to their senses. But it is only through my kind caring spirit, and benevolent nature, that I take such harsh stands. Sadly the general populace is made up of Sheep bleating the day long. Look at any John Edwards or Hillary supporter and you will know what I mean. So off with #2 as well for really I have enough compassion and understanding already.

Midgets? forget about it..... not touching that. There is no way I can ever see these little creatures as human therefore the lofty goal I set cannot be reached.

So that only leaves, yup, Hippies. This goal to stop hating Hippies is rather ambitious. Maybe if I toned it down to: " I will stop throwing rocks at Hippies and protesters". or " I will try to stop running them off the road." Maybe I could accomplish those this year. It will be difficult, as the temptation is so great every time I see a herd of Tye died sheep, or Liberals bleating away this urge to " Knock some sense" into them overcomes me. This will go against my compassionate nature, for by not throwing the stones and letting them clog up the roads, I am ignoring their silent cries for help.

I will try though, I will really, really try..................